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OSU Equity and Inclusion Blog

We’re Hiring!

August 8th, 2013

Oregon State University’s Office of Equity and Inclusion is seeking to fill two positions:

Our collaborative team is eager to welcome two new members! Please consider the job information linked above, and apply if you are interested and qualified. Please also share these opportunities widely with others.

Guidelines for Holiday Decorations

November 26th, 2012

The Office of Equity and Inclusion offers the following recommendations to guide departments as they plan for the use of holiday decorations in their units. We understand that having a festive environment, especially during the December/January holidays is important to many of our students, employees, and stakeholders. We also believe this can and should be accomplished in ways that are inclusive and respectful of a range of cultural traditions.


 Two constitutional protections inform the university’s guidelines about holiday decorations:

  1. As a public agency, OSU may not advance or endorse religion, non-religion, or one religion over another.
  2. The university must safeguard the rights of individuals to the free exercise of their beliefs.

As you consider whether or how to display holiday decorations, please ensure that both these constitutional obligations are met.   To clarify, this means that individuals do have the right to display religious symbols privately in their work areas, but such expressions must clearly be personal, private, and not appear to be public. Religious symbols should not be displayed in areas such that they seem to be expressions of the institution rather than an individual. The distinction between private and public spaces and private and public expressions should be determined using best judgment about how decorations will appear to the reasonable observer; please contact the Office of Equity and Inclusion (541-737-3556) with specific questions.

In addition to these legal parameters, Oregon State University is committed to inclusiveness and respect for a wide range of cultural customs. The Office of Equity and Inclusion encourages individuals and departments to be thoughtful and respectful of the beliefs, traditions, and comfort level of others with regard to holiday decorations. The visibility of decorations to others and their resulting impact upon the workplace should be considered by employees who place them in the workplace.

Inclusive Strategies

The following suggestions are meant as a starting point for conversations and planning within your department. Please note that holiday decorations must conform to all fire and safety regulations.

  • Use a collaborative process for staff input into department decorating plans.
  • Respect an individual’s decision to not participate.
  • Focus decorations on the winter season by using images that are not associated with religious traditions (e.g., snowflakes, snow sculptures, sleds). Remember that images that seem neutral to some may be experienced as religious by others with different traditions.
  • Ensure that decorations reflect and are respectful of the diversity of our university community.
  • Identify a specific period of time for the display of holiday decorations.
  • Consider how efforts support and enhance the university’s values and goals with regard to equity, inclusion, and diversity.

Thank you.

External review of OSU’s efforts related to equity, inclusion, and diversity

October 18th, 2012

All students, staff, and faculty are invited to participate in a conversation with the external review team members who will be at Oregon State on October 25th and 26th as part of the self-study of all university efforts related to equity, inclusion, and diversity. Please join the review team on Thursday, October 25th from 4:00-5:00pm in the Memorial Union Journey Room. This is an open session, so please feel free to share this invitation with others who may be interested. The discussion will be streamed live. (live.oregonstate.edu)

As many know, last summer President Ray called for a comprehensive self-study that would engage the Oregon State University community in examining equity, inclusion, and diversity efforts university-wide. Over the course of the 2011-12 academic year a self-study team co-chaired by Susan Capalbo and Angelo Gomez reviewed literature, examined promising practices at comparator institutions, and engaged over 400 members of the university community in dialogue in order to develop recommendations that will guide our collective efforts to make Oregon State a model of an equitable and inclusive university. Over the summer the team drafted a report that details the self-study process and proposes the most important goals for the university to pursue to realize its aspirations. The self-study and appendices are available on the Office of Equity and Inclusion website.

In this next phase of the self-study process an outside team of experts will review the university’s capacity to plan, implement, and assess efforts related to equity, inclusion, and diversity. They will also consider the extent to which the university community is and is perceived to be committed to supporting and sustaining such efforts. The external review team will be led by Dr. Daryl G. Smith, Professor of Education and Psychology at Claremont Graduate University and a renowned scholar on the subject of diversity in higher education. Her most recent book, Diversity’s Promise for Higher Education: Making it Work, has served as a framework for our analysis of OSU’s efforts. The team also includes Dr. Michael J. Tate, Chief Diversity Officer for Washington State University and an extension professor in the Department of Human Development, and Dr. Sharon Parker, Assistant Chancellor for Equity and Diversity at University of Washington Tacoma.

Please join us for this important conversation!

Introduction to the New Communications Graduate Assistant

January 26th, 2012
Catherine Porter

Catherine Porter: New Communications Graduate Assistant

Who could have thought of a better way to begin working for the Office of Equity & Inclusion than kicking it off with the annual Peace Breakfast celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.!  My name is Catherine Porter, and I am the new Communications Graduate Assistant.  Life works in fantastically wonderful ways sometimes.

For me, I had just finished my coursework and Oral exams in my doctoral program focusing on Higher Education Administration in the Community College Leadership Program here at OSU, and was in desperate need of a Graduate Assistant position.  Not only did one become available, but gratefully it was one that aligned perfectly with my interests, beliefs, and skill set.  I am very happy to be part joining this effort.

The position itself was newly created to get the word out about the amazing contributions people in our diverse community are making.  This means telling peoples stories, helping build deeper community, and announcing events that celebrate equity and inclusion.  If you happen to notice things that would make great stories or need to be announced, please let me know!  I may be reached at Catherine.Porter@OregonState.edu, or (541) 737-4381.  I would love to hear your ideas!

As we progress, expect to see a lot more activity in all forms of media around campus and in the greater community.  This includes our blog, FaceBook Page, Twitter, Life@OSU, the Barometer, and so on.  If you haven’t already done so, become friends with us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ ),, Twitter us ( http://twitter.com/OSUEquity ), or join the blog ( http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/equity ).  There will be a lot going on there that you won’t want to miss!

Equity and Inclusion Update

November 2nd, 2011

To understand where equity and inclusion is today, it is helpful to begin with the phone call that got it all started.

Five months ago, I was on vacation heading to New Mexico.  As I drove across the Arizona desert, the pressures of work began to fade and I was getting more relaxed.  Then my cell phone rang.  I might have ignored it, except for the fact that it was President Ray, and when I answered, I was yanked back into the reality I had started to leave behind.  I stopped by the side of the road and, while gazing out at the vast desert, I listened as new ideas for equity and inclusion and a university-wide self-study were outlined; by the end of the conversation, I had agreed to accept the position of Interim Executive Director.

As soon as I returned to Corvallis, the work began.  While my new appointment would not be effective for another month, initial conversations with stakeholders needed to start as soon as possible.  The ongoing work of the Offices of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, Community and Diversity, and Women’s Advancement and Gender Equity needed to be maintained and, at the same time, planning had to occur in order to begin a self-study process during fall term.

Five months later, my staff and I continue to engage in efforts to increase communication and feedback during this transitional year.  In our various conversations with the OSU community, we are hearing people grapple with the same dilemma we’ve been grappling with for some time: How do we address the work that needs to be done and avoid prematurely solidifying a unit structure?

The immediate challenge is that there are programs, services, and initiatives that must continue; however, we are not sufficiently staffed to meet all of the immediate expectations.  With that in mind, we have to find creative ways to manage during this academic year while also continuing to seek input from various stakeholders.

In fact, as a result of the input we have received thus far, we are deliberately slowing our efforts to hire new staff or to permanently modify position descriptions of existing staff.  Instead, we have identified various individuals who have generously agreed to work with us on a temporary basis, performing essential tasks and ensuring the continuation of key programs.  You will also notice staff members with “interim” titles that reflect the work they have assumed during this period of transition.

In some instances, we have established and filled permanent positions that are fundamental to the ongoing work of our office, regardless of the final structure.  This is the exception and our priority moving forward is to respond to community input about maintaining a flexible transitional structure.  Unless there is an immediate need and a strong rationale to do so, we will seek to manage this transitional year by delivering programs and services using existing and temporary resources.

We are hosting a series of open conversations with the OSU community this fall and have scheduled sessions about every two weeks for the rest of the term (see OEI forum schedule for details).  The most recent conversation (summarized below) served to clarify the university’s ongoing commitment to all aspects of equity and inclusion, including women’s advancement and gender equity.  As we proceed, I hope participants will engage with us in discussions of the intersections and shared interests of Women’s Advancement and Gender Equity, Community and Diversity, and Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity.

Angelo Gomez, Interim Executive Director


Equity and Inclusion Forum

October 18, 2011

Discussion Themes:

  • It is important to understand the motivation behind pursuing integrated efforts, and to consider the potential benefits of doing so, such as the ability to address components of identity in ways that are inclusive of all aspects of one’s identity.  At the same time, it is necessary to maintain a commitment, including dedicating FTE and/or clearly identifying liaisons, to address the needs of specific communities.
  • There is a need to maintain a strong online presence, such as through the continued use of various forms of social media and the maintenance of a dynamic website, so that the OSU community knows their rights, responsibilities and resources, and knows who to contact with specific questions.
  • It is necessary to identify ways to accomplish the work on a transitional basis, and it is also necessary to continue to seek input from the OSU community in order to determine a finalized structure.  The approach for addressing equity and inclusion, both transitionally and long-term, should draw on and coordinate with existing efforts and committed individuals across campus.
  • The process for conducting a self-study of equity and inclusion must be inclusive, provide many opportunities for engagement, encourage creative solutions, identify ways to address barriers, seek the value of diversity, and truly value the principles of inclusion.  It is important to recognize, integrate, and empower individuals to engage with multiple paths to creating change, including grassroots initiatives, as well as those facilitated by university administration.

Addressing Gender Equity through an Integrated Approach

October 4th, 2011

Last week, Roni Sue and I presented at the 18th Annual Diversity Conference in Salem.  Our workshop was titled Gender Equity in the Workplace: Exploring effective policies and practices.  The name of the session might seem pretty straightforward, but I imagine a few of the participants were surprised by the content.

What Roni and I really wanted to talk about was a new vision for addressing gender equity that recognizes two key concepts.  First, “gender” is more complex than is typically understood.  Second, a single aspect of identity is neither experienced apart from other identities nor is it experienced the same way by everyone who shares that identity.

It sounds complicated, but the point we were trying to make was that achieving equity, with regard to gender or any other identity, requires an integrated approach.  Of course, this is the same challenge we are currently facing as we endeavor, at least on a transitional basis, to incorporate the work of three formerly separate offices into a more unified agenda for equity and inclusion.

While we believe that in order to be effective we must understand the ways in which individuals’ identities may be nuanced, intersecting, contextual, and overlapping, we also recognize the personal, social, and political significance with which identities may be imbued.  While we each have multiple identities, at times we may find a particular identity to be most “salient” (a fancy term used by scholars to mean relevant or prominent).

When we, as individuals, identify a particular aspect of ourselves as important, we want to make sure that it will be recognized, valued, and understood, not minimized, disregarded, or obscured.  So, how do we, as the Office of Equity and Inclusion, continue to recognize an aspect of identity, such as gender, that many members of the community identify as salient, while also enacting an integrated approach to equity and inclusion?

The answers to that question are complex, and various approaches are best decided on through continued engagement with those individuals and communities that have an interest in the outcome.  We do have some ideas that we’d like to share at our next lunchtime forum on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 from 12:00-1:30pm in room 206 of the Memorial Union.  In fact, we’re dedicating the entire forum to the topic: Addressing gender equity in a transitional, integrated approach to equity and inclusion.

In the meantime, if you have questions about the work formerly performed by the Office of Women’s Advancement and Gender Equity, please contact Anne Gillies at 541-737-0865.  Please also be sure to check out our website for more information about what we’re doing to address gender equity.

Injustice anywhere…

October 3rd, 2011

…is a threat to justice everywhere. Nearly 50 years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. sat in a jail in Birmingham, Alabama penning what would become one of the most famous written accounts of the civil rights era.  We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality… Dr. King articulated a vision in which the end to oppression was widespread.  …tied in a single garment of destiny. He did not work to address a single oppression, a sole injustice, or the needs of one particular group; rather, Dr. King spoke of a dream in which every individual realized that, when it comes to injustice: Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will be recognized on Monday, January 16, 2012.  Each year, members of the Oregon State University community work together to envision and enact an impactful, inclusive, and engaging celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King.  Join us on Facebook for more information and news about this year’s celebration.  Also, be sure to check out our website.

Lunchtime Forums

September 13th, 2011

Join the staff to learn more about the Office of Equity and Inclusion.  We will be discussing ongoing efforts, introducing new initiatives, and responding to comments and questions.  You are welcome to bring your lunch; cold beverages will be provided.

Monday, September 19, 2011

12:15pm-1:30pm: MU 213, Pan-Afrikan Sankofa Room

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

12:00pm-1:30pm: MU 206, Asian/Pacific-American Room

*Please note, the first 15 minutes of each forum will be time for informal gathering.  The remainder of the time will be used for more structured engagement; however, you are welcome to join at any time and leave as needed.

Who Moved My Cheese? Or, Changes.

August 31st, 2011

Back at the start of the summer, when President Ray released a statement about OSU’s equity and inclusion efforts, those of us in Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, Community and Diversity, and Women’s Advancement and Gender Equity started thinking about change.  While there is much to be excited about, transition also involves risk and can, at times, be uncomfortable.

Like mice in a maze, we start to wear a path to whatever it is we seek.  We find comfort in the consistency of our route, traversing it repeatedly in pursuit of the “cheese” awaiting us at the end.  But, what if one day, we maneuver around the twists and turns to find…nothing?  We might wonder aloud, “Who moved my cheese?”

Apparently this question is also the title of a popular book, which I haven’t actually read, but I understand to be based on one basic premise: Things change.  Of course, this message oversimplifies something much more complex.  Indeed change, undertaken for no other reason than the sake of change, can be frustrating.  On the other hand, transitions embarked on to explore greater potential hold many possibilities.

In pursuit of the latter, there have been a lot of changes in the past three months.  One of the most visible areas of transition has been staffing.  When people enter or leave an organization, take on different responsibilities, or add a new title to their business card, there are often questions.  Briefly, here are some responses:

Angelo Gomez: Angelo joined the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity (OAAEO) in 1996 serving first as Equal Opportunity Investigator, then Co-Director, and eventually Director.  Effective June 1, 2011 he was asked to assume the role of Interim Executive Director of Equity and Inclusion with overall responsibility for providing vision and leadership for equity, inclusion, and diversity efforts at OSU.  During the 2011-2012 academic year, his work will include leading a University-wide self-study and external review of equity and inclusion efforts.

Anne Gillies: Anne joined the OAAEO in 1996 serving first as Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Specialist, with dual reporting to the OAAEO Director and the Academic Personnel Officer in Academic Affairs.  She then served as Employment Services Coordinator and later as Affirmative Action Associate.  The focus of Anne’s work is on the representation, retention, and advancement of individuals historically under-represented in the University.  Anne also leads the ongoing growth of the Search Advocate program, which provides participants with theory, research, and practical strategies to use when serving on search committees.  During the 2011-2012 academic year, Anne will be providing transitional leadership on matters related to women’s advancement and gender equity.  She will also be working to develop a functional leadership role with the Business Centers.

Darlene Seltzer: Darlene is new to the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI).  In fact, today is her first day!  Darlene will serve as the Office Specialist performing a variety of administrative and technical tasks for the OEI.  She will also be the first point of contact for individuals contacting the office.  We are pleased to welcome her to this new role!

Donna Champeau: Donna was appointed Director of the Office of Women’s Advancement and Gender Equity (WAGE) in 2007.  During her time as Director, Donna worked to address systemic barriers to advancement, provide professional development opportunities, and create a climate in support of equality.  On September 15, 2011, Donna will be returning to serve full-time as a faculty member in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

Donna Stevenson: Donna joined the Office of Community and Diversity in 2011 and has served as Administrative Program Assistant (APA).  She has provided support to various programs, to the Director, and to the office.

Gabriel Merrell: Gabe joined Disability Access Services in 2010 as Program Manager for Virtual and Built Environments with a dotted line reporting relationship to the OAAEO.  He will continue to work with the OEI providing leadership, technical guidance, support, and education to the campus community in ensuring the accessibility of both the technological and built environments.

Jennifer Almquist: Jennifer joined the OAAEO in 2007 serving as Administrative Coordinator, Program Associate, and then Equity and Compliance Associate.  To support the expanding efforts of the OEI, Jennifer will be directing business operations and strategic initiatives for the OEI, including ongoing programming, planning, and project management.  Her work will be growing to include the coordination and integration of the daily activities of the office as well as engagement with strategic programs, research and initiatives.  One example of her involvement in this area is her current research into the promotion and tenure experiences of women faculty at OSU.

Mirabelle Fernandes-Paul: Mirabelle joined WAGE in 2008 serving first as Assistant to the Director and then as WAGE Associate.  During her time with the office, Mirabelle provided mentoring and coaching, led the efforts of OSU Women’s Network, and served on a variety of committees such as the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Alliance.  On September 12, 2011 Mirabelle will begin a new position as Director of the Women’s Center.  Although she will not be continuing with the OEI, we look forward to working with her to address gender equity at OSU.

Roni Sue: Roni joined the OAAEO in 2008 as Equal Opportunity Associate.  She has primary responsibility for conducting and overseeing the investigation and resolution of complaints of discrimination, and for managing employee requests for reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  During the 2011-2012 academic year, Roni will be providing transitional leadership in creating, leading, and supporting opportunities for community engagement with equity and inclusion efforts.  This is an expansion of her previous engagement with such groups as Team Liberation and the University Housing and Dining Human Relations Advisory Board.  She will also be working to develop a functional leadership role with the Business Centers.

Terryl Ross: Terryl joined the Office of Community and Diversity in 2004.  During his time as Director, Terryl provided leadership to the Voices Project, PROMISE, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.  He also worked with colleges and departments to develop Diversity Action Plans in an effort to enhance diversity efforts at Oregon State University.  Additionally, Terryl formed significant partnerships with employers in the Corvallis community and diversity stakeholders throughout the state, including the President’s Board of Visitors.  On September 30, 2011, Terryl will be stepping down from his position as Director to produce a documentary about social justice and diversity in America.

These summaries may or may not provide the answers you were seeking, but that is largely due to the fact that we still find ourselves occupying the lacunae of this organizational change.  Frankly, all of us whose employment is directly impacted by the greater integration of equity and inclusion efforts are still trying to chart our new path forward.

We each manage these modifications to our once familiar landscapes with different strategies that fall somewhere on the (admittedly oversimplified) continuum between confusedly staring at the place where our “cheese” once was to creatively piloting ourselves along a new route to that which we seek.

Here, in the Office of Equity and Inclusion, we try to enact the latter by exploring the myriad ways to engage in our efforts to serve the campus community.  We believe that a new path emerges as we hold ourselves open to possibilities.  But, that means that this is just the update for today, and it is likely that we will continue to experience, and you will continue to see, shifts in personnel, duties, and titles.

As these changes occur, we will do our best to seek input, address questions, and mitigate disruption.  We hope you’ll continue to join us on the journey.

Introducing: the Office of Equity and Inclusion!

August 12th, 2011

Don’t be misled by the abundance of parking spaces and the short lines at the coffee shops, we’ve been busy this summer!  While many students and faculty are away from campus, the staff in the Office of Equity and Inclusion are here working hard to prepare for the start of the new academic year.

So, who are we?  The new name represents a university initiative to integrate the work of three formerly separate offices: Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, Community and Diversity, and Women’s Advancement and Gender Equity.  Though we may be answering the phones in a new way, you’ll still be able to access many of the same programs, services, and areas of expertise.

This year will be one of transition so, to stay engaged, please continue to visit our blog, check out our website, and follow us on Twitter.  Also, don’t hesitate contact us with any questions.

We’re looking forward to engaging with the campus community around a variety of topics related to equity, inclusion, and diversity!


The staff in the new Office of Equity and Inclusion

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